Former BBC director general Greg Dyke has criticised the setting up of the BBC Trust, which replaced the board of governors, calling it a "fudge".
Mr Dyke was forced out of the BBC in the wake of the Hutton Report
Mr Dyke, who left the BBC in 2004, told MPs that the new system hampered strategic decision-making at the BBC.
He compared the speed at which Freeview was successfully launched to the delays that have dogged the iPlayer launch.
"I don't like the system they have put in place - it won't work. It should never have been put in place," he said.
"It's the fudge they came up with, that Michael Grade said he could make work and then left to go to ITV," he told the House of Commons culture, media and sport select committee on Tuesday.
The BBC Trust was introduced in the wake of the Hutton Report in 2004, which highlighted problems with the governors' dual role as both the corporation's champions and regulators.
The role of the trust is to represent licence fee payers and to ensure the BBC provides value for money.
Plans for the iPlayer were first submitted to the Trust last summer. It received final approval last week having undergone rigorous public value tests.
In the interim, on-demand services have been launched by both Channel 4 and ITV.
"They could have been ahead of the game with the iPlayer, and they should have been," said Mr Dyke.
"We invented Freeview and virtually got it going in a matter of months.
"I suspect under the governance system today you'd be lucky to get it going in a matter of years, let alone months."
Sir Michael Lyons began his role as BBC chairman and head of the trust last week. But Mr Dyke said the chairman's job ought to be to represent the interests of the corporation.
"It would have been far better to go to an outside regulator, then you could have a chairman who actually agreed with you."
A BBC Trust spokesman said the way the corporation is being governed now is "superior" to the previous system.